This class was tough.
Course Overview:
I would recommend taking this course because it gave me a solid background for college mathematics. I learned how to use basic calculus in real life problems, like optimizing the volume of a box.
Course highlights:
I gained the basic background needed for college mathematics for taking this course. I was thrown into this class without passing the placement exam, and I had to feel my way around. I eventually caught onto how to study for this class and I learned invaluable mathematics skills that I use in upper level courses currently.
Hours per week:
3-5 hours
Advice for students:
I would recommend learning the concepts of this course. DO NOT memorize equations, formulas, etc. There is a reason why the teacher is there. You could find formulas online if that's all you needed to know. If you are not sure, ask your teacher WHY you need to set the derivative equal to zero when doing an optimization problem. IF you do not understand a topic, go see a teachers assistant or the professor immediately, because the course moves very quickly.
Not too easy. Not too difficult.
Course Overview:
If you are the kind of person who wants to understand why math works instead of just memorizing a formula, take this man's class. If you just want to scrape by without having any real knowledge of the brilliance of calculus, don't bother. Also, if you study, and study hard, you will pass. He will not put anything on an exam that you have not seen before.
Course highlights:
Every math class before this had been rote memorization. Ryan Alverado meticulously proved all the necessary concepts of derivation and integration, as well as gave many useful examples, some of which you would find on an exam.
Hours per week:
0-2 hours
Advice for students:
Study. Do practice problems. Go to his office hours. Don't skip out on the proofs and don't skip class. He's pretty entertaining.
Not too easy. Not too difficult.
Course Overview:
I would absolutely recommend Calculus 1 with Dr. Hockensmith! He is a wonderful professor who truly cares about his students. He organizes his lectures extremely efficiently and uses the whiteboard to teach rather than using a powerpoint. I learned so much in this class and looked forward to going to it (even though it was at 8 am!). He allowed for group work on the worksheets that we got in recitation, which I believe truly promoted learning, and he ensured that the students were prepared for the exams. The class also prepares you well for the intense department-wide final at the end of the semester.
Course highlights:
I think my biggest breakthrough in this course was with limits. I finally understood limits after taking this course, and that was such an exciting thing for me, because I had struggled with them in high school. Learning to take limits allowed me to understand so many of the other lessons in Calculus 1. I was finally able to understand the limit definition of the derivative - which was so liberating because I actually understood what a derivative was rather than just the tricks to taking them, like the product rule and chain rule. Getting limits down also allowed me to understand how to curve sketch the graph of a function without using my calculator, which was a huge part of the final (and calculators weren't allowed on any of the exams). Overall, this course taught me valuable lessons in calculus; this professor was very accessible and presented the information in a logical, organized manner.
Hours per week:
6-8 hours
Advice for students:
Like almost any college course, Calculus 1 at Pitt does move pretty quickly; there is no avoiding that, so I would advise students to make sure to keep up with the material. I learned that it is almost impossible to do every practice problem from each lesson, but I would tell students to do as many as they can and especially to try the ones that they might not immediately know how to do. Don't be intimidated by problems that seem confusing at first, because you can always get help with them. Dr. Hockensmith's office hours are very helpful, and he will even help you during times that are not listed as his office hours if he is in his office. I would recommend to students to stay on top of the material, do the online homework as soon as it is assigned, take good notes, read before class, and do all of the practice exams that Dr. Hockensmith makes available. If a student does these things, they should do very well in this course!